BREAKING NEWS: Microsoft Acquires ZeniMax Media, Owner of Bethesda, For 7.5 Billion Dollars

A surprise story Monday morning, it had been announced that Microsoft Corp has purchased the Maryland-based entertainment development and publishing company ZeniMax Media for an alloted sum of $7.5 billion dollars in cash. This move now brings the wide variety of titles and projects under the Microsoft umbrella and Xbox brand. This includes the Elder Scrolls series, DOOM, Wolfenstein, and Fallout. It also means that studios under Bethesda's brand, like Tango Gameworks, who's currently developing Shinji Mikami's Ghostwire Tokyo, over.

This move now makes Bethesda and Obsidian sister companies. Obsidian gained much notoriety for their previous work on the Fallout series with the critically acclaimed New Vegas. Their 2019 release, The Outer Worlds, was viewed as a successor to the lore and narrative driven spirit of previous Fallout entries. Bethesda's latest entry, Fallout 76, was met with a venomous backlash upon and after its release. Suffice to say, it will be very intriguing to see what direction the series takes, if there's any creative input from Obsidian or not for the future of the franchise. Phil Spencer spoke in an official statement:

"All of our work, and the foundation of our relationship with you, starts with a commitment to deliver a breadth of amazing games to discover and play on Xbox.  Over the last few weeks, we’ve been excited to share more detail on important elements of a plan we’ve been building towards for years. A plan that is the fulfilment of a promise, to you the Xbox player, to deliver the most performant, immersive and compatible next-generation gaming experiences, and the freedom to play blockbuster games with your friends, anytime, anywhere. Today is a landmark step in our journey together and I’m incredibly energized by what this step means for Xbox."

Todd Howard, executive producer and game designer for Bethesda also issued a statement:

"Like our original partnership, this one is about more than one system or one screen. We share a deep belief in the fundamental power of games, in their ability to connect, empower, and bring joy. And a belief we should bring that to everyone - regardless of who you are, where you live, or what you play on. Regardless of the screen size, the controller, or your ability to even use one.
We can’t think of a better group of people to do that with than those at Xbox. We have friendships that go back to those original days. From Phil to his senior leaders to developer support, they don’t just talk about putting players first, they passionately live it." 

According to Jason Schreier on Twitter, Xbox plans to honor the PS5 exclusivity to Death Loop and Ghostwire Tokyo. Future Bethesda games will be on Xbox, PC, and "other consoles, on a case by case basis".

The "case by case" statement is interesting, as in recent history, Microsoft and Xbox had been working on porting game to and expanding crossplay with Nintendo. Perhaps this may play as opportunities to open up crossplay opportunities in the future with Elder Scrolls or Fallout. That's mere speculation on my part, mind you. 

Bethesda's intellectual properties adds more appeal to Xbox's acquisitions of talented studios like Ninja Theory. This really bolsters their portfolio by gaining worldwide popular titles, putting it on the same tier as Sony's purchase of Insomniac last August. With titles under development like the enigmatic Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6, this has strong implications for Microsoft as publishers and producers down the road for the Xbox Series X and Windows brands.

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